The face of modern music making, sampling and downloads.

“And of Sion it shall be said, as well the singers and musicians on instruments will be there; all my springs are in thee.”

All the psalms in the holy bible were perceived and produced as musical scores in praise of the Creator. Music had a permanent role in all ceremonial sacraments and rituals of worship, it was sacred.

Now an accepted form of traditional cultural expression, music is sounds generally organised through melody, rhythm and harmony. With a feeling of freedom in a personal connection with soul, music is a shared emotional experience. When listening to music every area of the brain becomes activated. 

In the modern era, musicians create music to entertain the listener. It allows the musicians to say something about anything without offence or undue negative responses. A universal language, good music, especially when performed and produced by excellent instrumentation and singing, bring together the most diverse groups of people together in celebration, joy and happiness.

The Business of Music

The usual business model of the music recording companies was this; a label would sign on contract an artiste, provide funds, personnel, produce, manufacture, package, market, promote and distribute the recordings. The company would also in partnership with other companies like a music publisher, collect revenue and all other income streams generated from the music product. Major problems often occurred around ownership of master recording, copyright, division of shares in the final product, licensing deals, length of contracts. All highly technical rigours, of which most artiste is usually unable to do, without the assistance of a good manager from inside the industry, legal representation, publisher and accountant. 

New times call for new ways to do the same thing, create music and make it available in the marketplace. The bigger questions remain, who gets what? Currently, the newest trend among would be artiste is; “I want to be famous.”   For what? Whatever! During this new era the launch of digital platforms, online streaming and services like Spotify and Ticketmaster were implemented. Instead of directly signing to a recording label, new technology provided the model and means to do it all independently, by building a small team and begin working from there. There are also new ways to work with established labels for an agreed one-off fee, and then hire in professional services as the need arise. The current mantra then, was to work with new technology instead of against it.

In 2007 – 2008, the global economic and financial meltdown generated a huge seismic shift, forcing the reorganisation of the world’s monetary and banking systems. Geographically the world was symbolically reshaped into nation blocks. Doors were closed for trade across borders, with increased tariffs to gain entrance and access to markets outside your immediate zones.

This scenario gave rise to a new breed of venture capitalists, the oligarchs speaking in the language of billions and trillions on behalf of invisible cartels and conglomerates. Their representatives travelled in luxurious private jets, arriving in cities on landing bays by helipads on the roof of towers embracing the cloud, their feet rarely touching ground, the live in the clouds. During the financial crisis, the share prices of the giants and major music recording companies plummeted, in some cases, losses were reduced to between 60% to 50% percent of their original value. All music recording companies had difficulties manging debts and repaying loans.

Loss of profits were also compounded through digital piracy, illegal downloads, and the struggles to cope with rapidly moving new audio-visual technologies. The traditional methods of doing business were no longer working, EMI, Sony, Universal, Island, Virgin and Warner Music Group were among the giants fighting for survival or scraping through in the recession. With the introduction of new technology and digital media, it was no longer necessary for music recording companies to manufacture or produce physical products, they gained access to markets new or old without trade barriers or immediate tariffs. The use of new technology in music distribution, meant there were no border restrictions or barriers in the movement of goods or services in the new one world reality. Music promotions, marketing and sales were conducted through the means of digital streaming directly to hand-held machines or electronic devices wherever you may be on the planet, via the internet through the networks, apps and platforms of the world wide web.

At the entrance level of the pop-music world and industry right now, it is more about cultivating a social media presence and building relationships for a potential large fan-base. There is very little to do with the traditional fundamentals qualities of real music making, and that statement has very little to do with being judgemental about anyone. The business after all, is selling music as entertainment, regardless, and not about critiques, or critical assessment, if so what position or values should we use to criticize? The ones that make the most money, right or wrong?

The Ai software in machines do assist to make music. A program, it does not contain the subtle nuances of qualities and range of sensibilities to satisfy the human need, in this sense there are major limitations. Neither can the programmed software in digitised computers replace the intimate interactions, emotions and feelings generated, in the relationship between musicians and their instruments in a flow of exquisite intuitive original performance. The dominant global music company at the present time is UMG – Universal Music Group is owned by Vivendi a conglomerate based in France, with a minority share in the grip of Tencent, a Chinese tech company. With operations functioning across sixty countries, the headquarters of Universal is in Santa Monica, California USA.  Deep Routes Collective.